An intriguing new video shows what appears to be an early prototype of a Tesla van designed to carry passengers through the Boring Company’s Las Vegas Loop.
The basic minibus-like vehicle closely resembles the pods the Boring Company showed off in its renders five years ago. At the time, Tesla and Boring Company CEO Elon Musk promised that the company’s tunnels would feature “fully road legal autonomous transport cars” and “ground to tunnel car elevators.”
The reality, however, looked quite different by the time the operation finished construction of its people-mover tunnels at the Las Vegas Convention Center back in 2020, relying instead on a fleet of slightly modified Tesla passenger cars.
So is — or was — Tesla or the Boring Company really working on such a van? At this point, we can only speculate. The short clip of the prototype leaves us with plenty of questions. Electrek wasn’t able to confirm the video’s authenticity, but according to Las Vegas-based content creator Jacob Orth, who shared the clip, the video was taken inside the Boring Company’s Las Vegas headquarters. Oddly enough, the prototype even appears to have a Tesla steering wheel, suggesting it’s far from being able to navigate streets or even tunnels by itself.
It also features two rows of rudimentary seats, totaling 12 seats, suggesting a far more design-appropriate vehicle to take thousands of passengers from point A to point B.
Tesla has talked about building an electric passenger bus or van for many years, with Musk promising “high passenger-density urban transport” in his 2016 “Tesla Master Plan Part 2.” But could this really be evidence that Tesla or The Boring Company is or was working on such a van? Is it a long-canceled project, or a sign that Musk hasn’t given up on efficient mass transportation?